Without meaning to, we started a residential program in 2010 when one young person was in desperate need of a place to live. From that small act, the program grew and, over the years, many others have found their home at our campus through the Residential Youth Program.
The Residential Youth Program has been one of our longest running and most successful programs. By providing a stable family-oriented home life, a comfortable living environment, three nutritious meals a day, and emotional support, the youth in our care are able to concentrate more fully on their academics. The youth in our care comprise mostly secondary (high school) students and a select number of especially vulnerable primary students. We have seen measurable results from the Residential Youth Program, with live-in youth being routinely at the top of their classes and recognized as leaders among their peers.
To be considered for the Residential Youth Program, a young person must demonstrate a need and a desire to live in a controlled setting. Upon entering the program, residential youth commit to and are expected to follow the Code of Conduct, which includes following behavioral expectations, meeting school performance requirements, and performing assigned chores. About one third of our residential youth are orphans, having lost both parents, who are referred to us by local chiefs or school administrators. Another one third of our residential youth are from households with a single mother who is struggling to support them. The final one third are from families in the surrounding community who see the value in the structured environment.
Residential youth are overseen by a Residential Youth Manager who lives on-site, monitors academic progress, provides mentorship, and ensures all policies are being followed. Additionally, the house and its residents are overseen by a Residential Youth House Management Committee comprised of the local chief, a health advisor, two parental representatives, a human rights advisor, and the government’s Child Protection Officer for the area. The committee holds regular meetings and is required to approve all incoming and outgoing youth for the program. We also have regular communication with the Malawi Government’s Office of Social Welfare, who conduct regular inspections of the house and who we send official reports of student progress.